The Policy Circle in Detroit for 2019 MBDA Conference
By Sylvie Legere
June 26, 2019
Kudos to the Enterprising Women of Color panel at the 2019 National Stakeholder Summit for the Minority Business Development Agency. The Policy Circle co-founder, Sylvie Légère moderated the panel featuring Natalie Cofield, CEO of Walker’s Legacy, Cindy Ramos-Davidson CEO of El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and fellow Chicagoan Sheila Hill-Morgan CEO of Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council.
Sylvie Légère and Natalie Cofield
Natalie highlighted Walker’s Legacy Business Accelerator programs and Women of Color in Tech popup events across the country. Natalie focuses on igniting the entrepreneurial spirit in young women of color. She shared with the audience valuable advice on mentorship: seek mentors of all ages and backgrounds because every business need all perspectives to develop and market products and services, as well as to create a work environment that will attract a competent diverse workforce. We will be talking about how The Policy Circle experience could be incorporated in Walker’s Legacy events.
Cindy featured Women Entrepreneurship Center that she established as part of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, to support hispanic women to start and grow their business. Cindy’s inspiration and drive is her mother whose only life regret was to never have started her own hair salon. Cindy is committed to helping women, take the leap and start a business. Cindy’s also developed a program to encourage business owners to run for office and to advocate for public policies that foster entrepreneurship. We are thrilled that her team will bring The Policy Circle to El Paso.
Sheila’s organization in Chicago hosted this past April a Women Empowerment Day as part of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development conference. She encouraged the MBDA stakeholders to create special programming to connect women business owners and support the growth of their businesses. Sheila’s agency is also one of the centers of excellence on exports to Africa, her team led a business mission to Ethiopia and provides all businesses with vital information about Africa’ growing middle class and their purchasing power. We are planning to work jointly on a Policy Circle 2020 Brief on Business in Africa, as well as starting a business owner Policy Circle.
The panel also discussed the critical role of networking and the value of expanding industry, business and policy knowledge in order to quickly find commonality, opportunities for collaboration and influence. One more reason to start a Policy Circle in enterprise, and to come to the Policy Circle Summit November 15 where policy and leadership intersect.
We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a productive event… run by a government agency. Check out MBDA.gov.
Congratulations Henry Childs II and his team Nikita Chambers and Joann Hill for organizing 2019 National Stakeholder Summit for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA.gov). MBDA is a federal government agency that operates under the Department of Commerce. Their mission: be the convener, the connector that supports the growth of mid to large market minority owned businesses. The conference brought together independent agencies from around the country to share best practices and education on trends. From export projects, online learning, AI, venture capital funds to opportunity zones (see the feature on Yahoo Finance), the presentations were informative, and challenged the audience to grow their businesses with intention. Presentations on Entrepreneurship Education for the Formerly Incarcerated featured programs at Georgetown University, J&J Monitoring, and DESA inc where Diane Sumpter helps formerly incarcerated people obtain pardons so they can get licenses to work. We will be updating our Creating Career Pathways brief to include creating pathways for the formerly incarcerated.